You will probably have heard in the news of yet another tragedy involving another innocent youngster being gunned down (Liverpool)
Gun-crime is on the rise in all European countries at the moment, but isn't it strange that out of all the Anglophone countries (except USA), the news reports of these events always seem to point to suburbs in especially England, and rarely Scotland, Ireland, etc...?
Sure these terrible tragedies happen elswhere too, but it seems to be much more frequent in an English community. What is going on with society at the moment? I left England about 10 years ago, and now I always dread going back there on business trips etc...
I personally feel much safer on the streets visiting relatives in Scotland or friends in Ireland, than I ever have where my parents now live in England. I really don't feel safe walking anywhere there after 8pm, e.g. walking to the nearest underground stop and I never used to feel like this when I lived there.
Maybe I have become Germanised over the years, lucky that I am to be able to quite happily walk through Köln at say 3 am without constantly looking over my shoulder fearing a knife or a bullet etc...
Maybe it's the celtic in me, but sometimes I really do think it's an especially English problem. I guess I am going to provoke some criticism for saying this though...
Especially for those English expats out there - given the way England now is, would you ever consider moving back there? It seems to me England is heading for a meltdown before long...
I guess it really depends - if you have the money and time I guess you could for example book in a hotel a few nights in each city first, just to provoke a gut feeling on which city you like better. As jaded as I am, I would say live in Köln. However...
I have lived in Köln a good 10 years now, but have rarely found jobs I woud be interested in, in Köln. More often that not, I usually work elsewhere e.g. having to commute to Düsseldorf/Duisburg direction.
Maybe it's because Köln is a Media/Performing Arts hub which sometimes makes job searching in Köln such a bind if that's not your industry. Finding a job in Düsseldorf has always been much easier for me. If you were to break the industries out into %ages, Düsseldorf has equal distribution of industry/employment, whereas Köln can be very Media-centric at times.
That said, Köln wins hands down when it comes to nightlife, pop concerts, festivals, tourism, gay scene, transport, shopping and so many other things... It's these sorts of things which make me stay in Köln and choose to make the daily commute. Heck, George Michael played the KölnArena not so long ago. Did he choose Düsseldorf to play? I don't think so...
You probably noticed these types of things when you first arrived here because, as someone said earlier, you're paying more attention/observing:
1) Grown up men and women wearing jumpers and socks with fluffy bunnys/sheep motifs or 80's Kids TV presenter clothes.
2) The 1980's "Knight Rider" Leather Jacket with large collar/lapel- please somebody tell me how it is possible to buy such a thing nowadays
3) Wearing trousers which are clearly 3 inches too short so that you can see the socks (when standing)
4) The "orange" solarium tan as sported by the Prolle (usually in combination with full denim uniform / stonewash denim and an appearance on an RTL talkshow)
5) The 80's secretary look - blue mascara (!), curly perms, geometric jewellery in pastel shades (again, who sells this kind of stuff?)
6) Mustache Mania - a fairly attractive woman accompanied by presumably a husband with a huge curly mustache (a la cirque du soleil "lion tamer" )
7) Everything Insanely Bright & Colourful Kids Apparel & Backpacks (there is such a thing as overdoing it with colours, even for kids)
8) Fur coats - as sported by packs of women trying (and failing) to look elegant when they take their Kaffee/Kuchen on a Sunday (especially near the Düsseldorf Kö)
9) The scalped female bank-clerk look: Hairstyle cut insanely short (even for a man) then coiffed "Tin Tin" style and dyed an insanely unattractive red/orange colour
10) The opposite to the other 9 points. Especially in Köln - the "always styled" look for every occasion. Want to quickly throw on a jeans and a jumper, or some sweats and go down to the supermarket / nip into Kaufhof etc??? Good Luck with that! You must look immaculately dressed whatever the occasion, and you'll be scorned at / have store detectives follow you if you dare to break the rules.